Softball team captain Kate Bowen becomes first Kinesiology major to be named valedictorian.
It was announced this past week after all nominees presented their speeches to a panel of faculty members that student athlete Kate Bowen would be delivering the Valedictorian speech at the 2014 undergraduate commencement speech.
In her immediate reaction to being nominated the senior pitcher and second base player Bowen said, “It was overwhelming at first, I didn’t really know where to start since I had never written a valedictorian speech or anything like it.”
After receiving a letter home informing her of the nomination, Bowen was given a little more than a week to write and prepare her speech, which would be delivered on one of two days.
In choosing what to write about Bowen said, “First I thought about what I loved at Manhattan over the past four years, then, I thought about everyone else’s experiences and tried to write about some of things I didn’t have the chance to do that I know so many other people did enjoy.”
In her own words on the speech Bowen said, “It starts from when I was a freshmen at orientation, and it goes through my time at Manhattan up to now and what I’ve learned here.”
When the days came for the nominees to deliver their speeches, feeling slightly less confident and admittedly doubting the likely hood that she would be chosen, Bowen said, “I considered the odds and thought, ‘It was good to be nominated’.”
Fifteen students from all five schools delivered their own valedictory addresses to the panel of professors. Bowen said, “After the speech, nobody really said anything or gave feedback on it.”
It was not until she met with Provost William Clyde days later that Bowen found out she would be delivering her speech at the Commencement ceremony in May.
As the only member of the class of 2014 to ever play softball at MC, Bowen humbly contributes a great amount of her academic success to her teammates and coaches. “Our coaches have always pushed academics. I missed my first collegiate game for a biology lab practical.” Bowen said.
Bowen has been recognized for outstanding achievements over the past four years both on the field and in the classroom. Before her most recent honor of being awarded the Donald J. Carty Valedictory Medal, she was MC’s female student athlete of the year, as well as MAAC Female Student-Athlete of the Year Finalist in 2013.
Being both an outstanding player and student, Bowen has managed to be noticed by administration and faculty as an all-around standout in everything she has done at MC. However, Bowen’s recognition, she claims, still did come as somewhat of a surprise to a few of her classmates and peers. “I think a lot of people were surprised, just because of the stereotype associated with physical education majors, but you have to explain that GPA isn’t the only criteria for valedictorian.”
Others such as associate professor and department chair of Kinesiology, Dr. Cherubini were less surprised knowing of Bowen’s strong academic and extracurricular background. He said, “Kate has always worked so well with peers, faculty, administrators, community members, and children alike in supporting our Lasallian mission and other key Manhattan College strategic goals.”
Having built strong credentials and references over the past four years, Bowen hopes to continue in collegiate level softball as a post grad.
“I have a two year position as a Graduate Assistant with the softball team at Springfield College.” Bowen said.
While earning her masters degree at Springfield College next year, Bowen will also teach undergraduate level gym courses while working with the softball team.
In terms of the future, Bowen hopes to work in athletic administration or be a college level softball coach, while also teaching physical eduation a the collegiate level.